by Debbie Clarke
In a bid to move further into the Digital Game market EA has bought social and casual gaming specialist PopCap in a reported $750 million deal. The Deal which is due to be closed in August was made for $650 million cash plus $100 million in stock with additional bonuses of up to a possible £550 million if PopCap reach certain earnings.
This years biggest video game take over comes as part of EAs move “from a packaged goods company to a fully integrated digital entertainment company” as quoted by EA CEO John Riccitiello. Having struggled to adapt to the digital games market EA has already acquired digital games maker Playfish for $270 million, growing it’s digital game business substantially, and this further acquisition of PopCap looks to take that growth even further.
Founded in 2000 PopCap is one of the leaders in the social games market, well known for it’s simple and addictive puzzle games. With titles available on a number of platforms including PCs, Consoles and Smartphones, it’s most popular titles Bejewelled and Zuma also making an appearance on social networking site Facebook, PopCap is an obvious choice to propel EA Further into the digital games market. An opinion confirmed when Riccitiello reportedly said “PopCap’s great studio talent and powerful IP add to EA’s momentum and accelerate our drive towards a $1 billion digital business. EA’s global studio and publishing network will help PopCap rapidly expand their business to more digital devices, more countries, and more channels.”
This acquistion puts EA in a strong position in the mobile and download market as well as setting them up to become a real contender in the social networking games market against current market leader Zynga. Needless to say this combination looks set to cause a stir in the games industry. However EA are not the only larger publisher looking to move into the growing market for casual gaming with Disney reported to have bought social game developer Playdom in a deal last year, only time will tell if this move will pay off for EA.
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